Today we’ll look again at Genesis 1:1-2. We said as we started our study that Genesis lays the groundwork for all the rest of Scripture. These first two verses bring us face to face with ultimate reality: the God who creates heaven and earth. That reality Genesis means to set as the arena of our everyday conscious experience. We’re never to be apart from thinking about that reality as we conduct ourselves in life. I want to look at three things that we can learn in the passage today. We looked at verse 1 in detail last week, but I want to rehearse a couple of things that we saw there and add two things to it.



I. The Implication of Genesis 1

The first thing I want to stress is that we as Christians should appreciate the implications of Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." First, realize that the biblical account of creation is not intellectually disadvantaged in the modern world. Last week we said there are only two alternative views out there, and we looked at some of the problems with them. And that reminds us that the whole system of naturalistic atheism is in crisis today, and it has huge philosophical problems. For example, there is no idea more pervasive in our society today than the ‘fact’ that all people are equal. But if there is no God and we simply evolved from the primordial blob, who's to say that my group of people who evolved from that blob aren't better than your group of people? As a Christian I have an answer, but as an atheist I wouldn’t have an answer. Don't think that you go into the marketplace of ideas defenselessly.

The first verse of Genesis also reminds us of the Creator-creature distinction. God is not part of the world, and the world is not God. God made the world. Whenever we begin to confuse that basic fact, when we begin to act as if we are God and displace Him, we have already taken the first step to disaster. The very first verse of Genesis clears up that problem. God is distinct from His creation, He brought it into being as Lord over it, and He alone has the right to make laws for it. He is an all-powerful, personal being.

And this is part of the beauty of the Genesis account. God made the universe, so the creation reflects Him, and because He is personal the creation is not meaningless. It is filled with meaning. A lot of people want to believe that there is no God who brought the world into being. It's a spectacular world, but it's not a personal world. That sounds nice in a classroom, but how about in the funeral parlor? Are you ready to swallow that there’s no meaning? Some argue, “But we provide the meaning to our lives. All meaning is subjective,” but in the funeral parlor we want to believe that life objectively has meaning. You can't have it both ways. Are we prepared to look a grieving mother burying her stillborn child in the eye and say, "There is no meaning there"? That's why Genesis 1:1 matters. This is the way it is because God made it, a personal God who relates to us and who cares about us. Apart from this truth, the rest of reality makes no sense.



II. The Nature of Primordial Matter

The next thing I want you to see is in verse 2. Look at the way God moves His original creation from disorganization to organization. Read verse 2: "The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving on the surface of the water." Here we see the chaos of the first matter and God's gradual forming it into the creation that we now know.

Notice three characteristics of the original creation for you there in verse 2. The original creation is formless, it is void or empty, and it is dark. It's very interesting that in visions of judgment in the Bible, God returns the current order to a state of chaos, emptiness and darkness. You find examples of this in Jeremiah 4:22-23 and in Jesus’ words in passages like Matthew 25:30. Now, Genesis is not implying that the original creation was bad, but it is reminding us that one of the blessings of God was forming it into order and fullness and light. Notice in verse 2 as well that in the midst of this empty, formless, dark place the Spirit of God is already at work. He is the first mover, already at work in the process of shaping the creation.

Now let me say that there is absolutely no trace of myth to this account. C. S. Lewis, whose business was myth, said that this account has no marks of myth. That's important for us to remember, because the creation account in Genesis is unique. All the creation stories that were contemporary to it speak not only of the creation of the world but also of the creation of the gods. The only account that speaks of God always existing and of the world being brought into being is Genesis.

This passage here in Genesis 1:2 reminds us that God will turn the formless mass into a well-formed and ordered world. This is also a picture of how God works in providence and in nature. God crafts from formlessness to form, from emptiness to fullness, from darkness to light. That's also a picture of how God works in our hearts. It's not a mistake that the work of the Lord Jesus and of the Holy Spirit in our hearts has been called regeneration and re-creation. What the Spirit does in our hearts parallels what God does in bringing form from formlessness, fullness from emptiness.



III. The Structure of Creation

The last thing is that we need to appreciate the significance of the order and the structure of creation. Genesis 1:3-2:3 describes in short scope the seven days of creation: the six days in which God creates and the Sabbath day on which He rests. I want you to look at the passage briefly. Note that whereas Genesis 1:2 says that the earth was formless, days one, two, and three are all devoted to giving the world form. If you’ll look from verse 3 to verse 10, you will see that each of those days speaks of God's shaping the world. Then in verses 11-31 fullness is brought into the creation. Days four, five and six are all devoted to God's bringing fullness to the creation from emptiness. You notice that one, two, and three are devoted to form; four, five, and six are devoted to fullness. The first day of form and the first day of fullness are both devoted to the creation of light. So from formlessness and emptiness and darkness God brings into the creation order and fullness and light. He impresses on the creation the stamp of His own character. That's why Psalm 19 can say, "The heavens declare the glory of God." So day to day utters forth praise to Him. And that is why the apostle Paul can say in Romans 1 that we see in the creation the reality of God. It testifies that He is the maker of heaven and earth and that we ought to worship Him.